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December 18, 2015

Chicago Theatrical

Crime Wave

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Film still: Crime Wave


One show only!

"Dementedly enjoyable"
  —Chicago Reader

One of the greatest debuts in English Canadian film history (and never before released theatrically in the United States), Crime Wave announced the birth of a new genre in Canuck cinema.

Writer-director John Paizs mutely plays Steven Penny, a frustrated filmmaker who rents an apartment above the garage of a suburban Winnipeg family. Kim (Eva Kovacs), the landlords' teenage daughter, admires this strange tenant, and adoringly narrates Penny's travails who dreams of writing lurid thrillers, while struggling to complete his script for "the greatest color crime movie of all time." Unfortunately, he discovers that he is only able to write beginnings and endings, but cannot quite figure out the middle. As Penny takes ever-more extreme measures to finish his script, Kim happens upon an ad for a script doctor in "the color crime quarterly" that could be his salvation and so he sets out to meet the mysterious Dr. Jolly.

John Paizs's audacious comedies of the early 1980s set a new style in Canadian deadpan humor, with their references to antique styles (for Paizs, a pastiche of industrial films of the 1950s) and jokes without punchlines, thereby laying the groundwork for Winnipeg filmmakers to come, including Guy Maddin.

Directed by John Paizs, 1985, Canada, 80 mins.


  • Fri., Dec. 18 at 9:45 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
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  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation